Dr Annesia Lamb from Bournemouth University and RaNTrans set the scene for looking at our macroalgal seaweed issues at the detailed genetic level, rather than the general or crude approaches. At the recent British Phycological Society conference her presentation – “Green Seaweed Mat Dynamics in The Channel Region, Genetic Identification, Abundance, and Seasonal Nitrogen Storage” was given in the Biotechnology sessions and reveal that not all green macroalgae are Ulva, some might actually be Chaetomorpha, and this is the valuable reason for having genetic identification in our research programmes.
The Rapid Reduction of Nutrients in Transitional Waters, “RaNTrans” project aims to remove nutrients using polychaetes, oysters, and seaweed. To understand maximum nutrient removal in seaweeds and the impacts of high biomass accumulations on estuarine organisms (ie. macrofauna), dynamics of mat accumulations in estuaries across The Channel were studied
The project collected monthly biomass measurements, seasonal mat species composition and percent carbon and nitrogen at high, medium and low mat concentrations at four sites, two in the UK and two in France. Mat biomass was highest in the summer months across all sites with various laminar and tubular species (ie. Chaetomorpha and Ulva spp).
Biotechnology techniques used, included next generation sequencing (NGS) and cleaved amplified polymorphic sequences (CAPS) assay with bulk sample collection to identify seaweed species. Percent nitrogen showed that maximum nitrogen removal using seaweed would occur during the summer months with a percent N as high as 4.5%. The RaNTrans project is investigating cost effective ways of removing nutrients (as explained in Zoe Morrall’s presentation) from estuaries and exploiting mat biomass for human benefit. In this way, we aim to create better management options for estuaries subject to eutrophication.
Also, it was emphasized that understating the generics of different macroalgal seaweed will have an influence on their targeted management and uses, such as biochemical extracts.
Our work continues in 2023!
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